Nail-base sheathing offers an efficient, cost-effective way to attach siding and trim—and an upsell for dealers.

As builders apply more energy-efficient construction methods, proper siding and trim attachment has increasingly become a moving target that’s easy for installers to miss.

“Some of the challenges and pitfalls of building have become more about the insulation and getting more efficiency. That insulation makes it harder to find the studs,” explains Steve Niro, roofing and siding sales manager with Bellevue Builders Supply in Albany, N.Y. “The person who installed that insulation isn’t necessarily the person who installs the siding, so they don’t know where the studs are all the time.”

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Hitting the right target becomes even more difficult when it comes to trim, says Brian Pelletier, a siding and roofing specialist sales representative with Hines Supply in Alsip, Ill. “Sometimes you have one crew throw the house wrap up as soon as possible, and that makes it very difficult to find the studs, especially when you’re attaching trim boards or J channels around windows,” Pelletier says. Often, builders must install blocking in these areas, which consumes time and adds cost.

But savvy LBM dealers are helping customers hit the bull’s eye with a simple system that meets building codes and increases cost effectiveness—all while increasing energy efficiency and structural integrity. As a bonus, this system gives dealers a new opportunity to upsell.

It’s called nail-base sheathing, also known as continuous sheathing.

As the name suggests, nail-base sheathing typically employs plywood and OSB as continuous sheathing around a structure, which provides an excellent nail base for siding and trim. When the correct fastening method is used, trim and siding can be directly attached to the nail-base structural sheathing, according to building codes. This method meets codes and removes multiple steps in the installation process—again, saving time and expense.

In fact, qualified siding need not be attached to any framing members as long as fasteners penetrate the sheathing by a minimum of 1/4 inch and the correct fastening schedule is followed. (See table below for recommended fastening schedule.) That’s true even if the siding is attached to plywood or OSB through a layer of nonstructural continuous insulation.

Fastener Substitution Schedule For Nail Base Sheathing

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